TIRANA, November 16
The World Bank (WB) office in Albania confirmed on Wednesday that the board of the bank approved a financing of 71 million dollars on an integrated urban and tourism development project in the country. According to the press release, the project will help create jobs, increase incomes, and support local economic development in selected areas in southern Albania, well-known as a key tourism destination with significant potential for growth.
Moreover, it says that the project aims to improve urban infrastructure, enhance tourism assets, and strengthen the capacity of institutions to support tourism at the local level.
“This project will maintain Albania’s beautiful natural resources and its rich cultural heritage while making tourism more competitive,” said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “This project will produce new jobs for Albanians and spur local growth by supporting urban regeneration and sustainable tourism”.
Also, it was mentioned that the project will leverage the Bank’s experience and global expertise to support four tourism sites in southern Albania, respectively in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Sites of Gjirokastra, Berat, and Butrint, as well as in the cities of Saranda and Permet.
According to WB’s data, the project areas are home to 84,000 people and the south of Albania as a whole is annually visited by over 300,000 tourists. The project activities include urban upgrading and infrastructure improvement, tourism sites upgrading, heritage and cultural sites’ restoration, and tourism market and product development. Currently, tourism industry supports 50,000 jobs, a number that is expected to grow to 200,000 by 2025.
Further on, the press release highlights that inadequate urban infrastructure, lack of coordination of local and regional markets, and short seasonal tourism activities present serious challenges.
“The project investments will make the four municipalities more attractive for visitors and private investors, and increase opportunities for people to generate income. The primary beneficiaries are the local residents and visitors who will benefit directly from improved urban infrastructure services and improved tourism options,” said Paula Restrepo and Shaun Mann, World Bank Project Leaders. “The whole country will benefit from increased tourism spending, job creation, and enhanced institutional capacity of local government and other agencies.”
Local municipalities have been closely involved in project preparation and they will play a key role in implementation while maintaining regular citizen engagement.
News Source: The WB
Photo Credit: Hizdri Gubetini, Eco Tour Albania
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